West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Antigua, 1st day July 25, 2012

Honours even after Narine strikes


New Zealand 232 for 4 (Guptill 97, Narine 3-73) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It turned out to be a bittersweet first day in Antigua for New Zealand, for though they fought hard they gifted away four wickets. Martin Guptill undid nearly three sessions of hard work with an impetuous slog that denied him a third Test century. West Indies bowled well in spells and could have had better results had their bowling been backed by better fielding. Sunil Narine looked his potent self late in the day to lift home spirits after they looked a touch deflated following a wicketless morning session.

New Zealand needed a solid batting effort after their failures in the ODIs and Guptill led from the top of the order, nearly lasting the entire the day. An underachieving Test batsman, Guptill had shunned the Indian Premier League to sharpen his long-format skills with Derbyshire. He also needed to improve his record against better attacks - his two centuries were against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The standout features today were his patience and how dearly he valued his wicket.

New Zealand were given a solid start by their openers Daniel Flynn and Guptill after Ross Taylor had won the toss. The new ball swung and beat the bat, and some deliveries landed close to the batsmen's toes. Yet, it wasn't enough to give West Indies a breakthrough in the morning. The seamers didn't pitch the ball up enough to exploit the movement on offer and the batsmen were allowed to leave too many deliveries outside off stump. Roach tried spearing in the yorker, but the openers were alert and kept those deliveries out. Only in the tenth over did New Zealand score their first boundary: Flynn driving a half volley from Darren Sammy through extra cover. At times, Roach bowled from wide of the crease to direct the ball at the body, but when he strayed too straight Guptill flicked to the boundary. When Roach was too full on middle stump, Guptill drove down the ground.

New Zealand were 60 for 0 when Sammy brought on Narine in the 21st over. Guptill's straight six showed New Zealand weren't too intimidated by that bowling change. New Zealand handled Narine fairly well, until the shadows lengthened.

After lunch, Guptill batted responsibly, wearing the bowlers down by occupying the crease. Flynn capitalised each time Narine pitched short but when he attempted another cut, the top edge because of the extra bounce was caught point, ending the opening stand on 97.

Guptill was a little circumspect when Ravi Rampaul began to reverse swing the ball. He eased those nerves with two fluent boundaries through the off side when Rampaul pitched too full. Guptill got to his fifty with a square drive off Roach, but against Narine, he was more watchful. Narine's round the wicket line, backed up by three men around the bat, kept Guptill in check, but New Zealand didn't have to worry about him getting bogged down, because Brendon McCullum was at the other end.

McCullum played his natural game, taking on Narine by pulling a short delivery over square leg, and later playing an audacious reverse sweep. He survived an lbw shout from Roach that was reviewed, but the referral was cancelled because the bowler had overstepped. In that same over, however, McCullum spooned the ball low to Narsingh Deonarine at mid-off, giving West Indies their second wicket.

Taylor and Guptill added 90 for the third wicket, with Taylor particularly harsh on anything wide of off stump. He was not entirely at ease against Narine, though. Narine got the old ball to turn and bounce and Taylor had issues while trying to defend with soft hands, with fielders waiting for the bat-pad catch. He fell to a poor shot, trying to pull Narine and tamely playing on.

At 223 for 3, New Zealand still had the upper hand and Guptill was one hit away from a century. The nervous 90s, though, got the better of him. He tried to repeat the shot that fetched him his only six, off Narine, but the top edge went only as far as mid-on. Time slowed as Guptill squatted, trying to comprehend what he had done. West Indies had found an opening late in the day. It was now up to the New Zealand lower order to start afresh.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Carl on July 26, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    Either Rampaul or Sammy should make way for a faster bowler. An attacke comprising Roach, Johnson, Rampaul/Sammy and Narine offers far more potency and variation. I would love the Windies selectors to be brave and experiment with Sammy batting higher up the order, that would free up the slot that is so dearly needed for another quickie such as Johnson, who would also add the high left arm angle that causes many batsmen problems.

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    A nicely poised contest. WI have a fight on their hand. However they will need to restrict NZ to about 350. Then there is the Vettori factor, not so much with the bat as with the ball since the wkt is spinner friendly. Today the key for WI will be early wkts. A fine knock by Guptill. Good stuff from Sunil. All & all good cricket.

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Slightly NZ day; WI haven,t bat yet, so lets see. Selectors may yet play 2 spinners;Deonarine & Samuels are good enough to bowl long effective spells in support of Narine. Rampaul,s weight needs to be reduced, he is a fast bowler that carries too much weight.Good spell by Narine,WINDIES have to apply pressure throughout series. Looking forward to seeing Narine / Fudadin play 5 full days of cricket.Equally excited to see POWELL bat @ the wicket.play cricket. WI must win this series to show that they have improved as a team.

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    best thing about this was guptil was disapointed at getting out in the 90s, beside the fact it would suck being so close to a hundred, he dug in and was hungry for more. going to be a good test series if others are in or can find form like that. as a new zealander i still mean both teams on fire.

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Reading a number of the comments i wonder how may of the writers actually play cricket. The WI batting is fragile (even with Gayle back) so it's right to play 6 batters, two of whom can be relied upon to bowl some decent overs of spin. I agree that Tino's pace would have been a better option than Rampaul but both Tino and Roach can be expensive and with the Antigua ground pretty slow I suport the cautious WI approach. WI are on the up but are not sufficiently strong or reliable as a team to go' gun ho'. Keep up the good work you've been doing Sammy.

  • Michael on July 26, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Rampaul IS NOT FIT...have been saying so for the longest while....this man STRUGGLED to bowl 10 overs in 3 spells recently in a ODIs....yet the selectors continue to pick this him....and look what happened yesterday From.the VERY first ball he bowled yesterday,until the very last over, summed it all up. Even the commentators NOTICED it !Shillingford and Best SHOULD have been playing !

  • Jon on July 26, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    All things considered. a decent day for NZ. It could have been much better but I think they would have settled for that. If NZ can get to 400 then it puts them in command of this test match. Vetorri will be the key man for NZ with both bat and ball. His aggresive nature with the bat, can take the game away from the WI quickly. I also fancy him to get a few scalps with the ball too. If NZ are bowled out for under 350 then WI will be very happy. Evenly posied I feel.

  • Carl on July 26, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    When the squad was announced, the tourists must have breathed a sigh of relief. No Delorn Johnson was a BIG mistake. Then, when the team was announced, the tourists must have breathed another sigh of relief. No Tino Best was another selection error. His extra pace would have gone for a few more runs certainly, but they would be at least a couple more wickets down. Whilst it is true that good spinners benefit from bowling in tandem, true fast bowlers always operate better in pairs, or better still...packs. Talk all you like about the slow, low wickets in the Caribbean nowadays, but genuine pace gets wickets EVERYWHERE. No batsman likes consistently facing 90mph bowlers, and the West Indies selectors need to rethink the choice of Rampaul over Johnson/Best. I fear that our best chance of winning a test series for a while, could be becomming slimmer during this game.

  • Chay on July 26, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    @Guy Saker, when did McCullum last destroy any attack? Pure fallacy.He scored 200 in the second dig in India which is a great knock, batted maturely, at 7, against Australia in Wellington in a terrible one-sided loss and picked on a weak Bangaldesh team in Hamilton but still striking at under 70. He simply isn't as good as people make out or he seems to believe. A test quality number 3 needs to show discipline and judgement, sadly he lacks this and his natural game is better suited to lower down the order where he can be effective. Take out his big score and his record isn't nearly as bright as you're making out. In fact, in the last 3 years, without 225 against India, he averages a shade over 33 at the top of the order.

  • Dummy4 on July 26, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    surely Sean Emery is 100% we need 5 specialist batsman four specialist bowlers one all-rounder and a ricket keeper

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